Recently, a group of adults met in the library and started cutting up books—really taking them apart. They tore, ripped and dismembered the books. Actions that would make any librarian or booklover cry; however, something magical happened. These destroyed books were born again… they had become art!
For years, librarians in both academic and public libraries have used arts and crafts as a way to get students and the community involved. The rise of the library makerspace has brought about a whole new idea of what a library actually is. Libraries have gone from places where you go to study in silence to places to meet, work together, and create. Libraries all over the world have started to tap into many types of crafting programs from knitting to bookbinding. These creative activities have a culture all their own, and by taking advantage of these opportunities, they are able to tap into the unique skills of many of their community members and staff.
The Freeman-Lozier Library, located on campus, has enjoyed offering many different types of crafting opportunities for the Bellevue University community, from Bob Ross painting events to Steampunk, but our favorite by far is our book art. Book art has been a movement within the library world for years. Using the pages of books or even sometimes the entire book itself, people have been creating something new and exciting from something old and loved. Whether it is folding the pages into campfire logs or candles, or using markers or paint to create new images on the pages themselves, book art allows the artist to take something loved and make it better. The staff at the Bellevue University Library have enjoyed sharing our love for our much treasured collection and turning it into something that can continue to be loved by many generations. There is no limit to what you can create through book art. Some of the things the library has created includes Banned Books Week decorations, National Library Week centerpieces, book wreaths, and holiday display decorations.
Now, if the idea of cutting or painting over your books makes you cringe, rest assured we are not telling you to buy brand new books to use as your supplies. Book art is a wonderful way to bring new life to books you will never read again or ones that are damaged or missing pages. It gives booklovers a second option to throwing away damaged books. Book art is a wonderful way to repurpose or recycle your old or broken books. It is a way to keep the things you love with you but with a different purpose.
The Bellevue University library is happy to be a place where the university community can come and experience new and wonderful things. We strive to be a place that not only inspires the love of learning in our students, staff and faculty, but also the desire and will to create something new from something loved and cherished. For more information about these and other events provided by the library staff, please contact us by email. At firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (402) 557-7313.
Originally posted in the Freeman/Lozier Library’s quarterly newsletter, More Than Books, V. 23 No. 2, Spring 2020.